(It seems I should be posting quick short questions or a variety of questions for longer answers on the rest of the Forum. But I thought I'd rather wrap up all the Q&A in one go. No need for deep discussions. Links would be nice but things explained in simple terms will be appreciated. I'm still getting my feet wet here!)
After a lot of hassle I finally got Mint running. I didn't install it to play games but due to curiosity. To see what the fuss is all about. So far I'm quite impressed but there are a few things I can't figure out.
1) During the installation process I was given three choices. The first one seemed to be the obvious one (dual boot with my current Windows XP) but I kinda got confused about the whole partitioning thing. I originally split my HD in two partitions before for just this purpose (two OS's). The third choice on the list gave me some advanced options and I couldn't really make heads or tails out what was going on there. A bit of Googling seemed to reveal that I needed three (?) partitions including a swap partition or something. Really too much hassle.
So I took the first choice and everything worked fine until I went back to XP and I found I couldn't start any programs, not even notepad! So I rebooted in safe mode with the console and ran a system restore two days back. That worked.
So my questions are:
a) During the installation, what do I need to do to install Linux on a clean existing partition?
b) What went wrong with XP during the linux installation?
c) Where is linux? I don't see any installation files anywhere when I am booted in XP. It also seems my nice clean empty partition wasn't even used for anything. So I guess Linux is somewhere hidden between my current Windows XP files...?
2) I seem to have some trouble with my Linux Mint after installing ATI drivers through a driver update utility. I was given two choices for a propriety version and one seemed to be a upgrade or something. After running the thing I got all sorts of problems. In normal log-in through the Gnome I can't read any text! And there seems to be this weird color distortions appearing. And I don't know how to deactivate these ATI drivers!
When I ran Mate everything seems to be fine. I finally figured out after a few questions on some chatroom help and Googling how to activate Compiz and all the nifty effects. But while some stuff like wobbly windows work it seems those 3D cube stuff and windows don't seem to do anything.
My questions here are:
a) To activate these 3D cube stuff and windows do I need to press a button or how does this work? Do they work in Gnome, Classic Gnome and Mate or only some of them?
b) How do I deactivate these ATI drivers! And are these color and font distortions only a ATI problem? Are there any fixes or alternatives for this?
3) While installing Mint I noticed that it takes forever!! It was downloading some language packs and stuff, I think. Is this necessary? I only have a 512kb line. What if I do a off-line install? Do I need a certain install package or would Linux just ignore the fact I'm not connected?
4) I want to try and use Linux only for my work which includes Design software and other applications. I'm not replacing Windows yet but I just want to see how things go. I'm already a big fan of Blender and OpenOffice and right now taking a serious look at Scribus. I'll try Wine and see how Photoshop copes with it.
What would be some recommendations to get the best performance out of this operating system? I'm sure there are no clear cut answers since everything depends on your system but just a general direction will be appreciated. So far as I know Blender seems to perform quite nicely on Linux compared to say windows.
Lastly (Mmm, Lotta questions so far). Are there any strong points Linux has in favor of Web Development and Graphic Design in general. Why would a linux user want to suggest I switch over? I could use Wine with Photoshop and Illustrator so that is already a big plus. But what about the rest?
Thanks for your time!